If you're looking for the TL; DR, more sleep can help you lose weight. The obvious benefits include potentially less calorie intake (eating less), but it goes beyond that. There is a correlation researchers have found between less sleep and increased weight gain among current populations. In addition to sleeping less, the quality of sleep is poor, and metabolism is affected. Basically, recent years have seen us forgo quality sleep and duration, and that's partly due to 'hustle culture' (which PSA, is on its way out.)
Poor Sleep, Less Sleep, More Weight Gain
Poor sleep can cause an increased body mass index (BMI), says the Sleep Foundation. We'll start with "fatigue," because feeling tired all day means you're not going to go be active or work out.
There's also the theorized effect of restricted sleep on metabolism. The metabolic rate determines how well your body converts food into energy. When you're metabolically off, fat gets stored. You end up with high insulin levels and greater body fat storage.
Then there’s a third way that sleep affects body mass. When you’re tired and pushing yourself to stay up, the body will send hunger signals more often. The hormone ghrelin formed in the stomach signals the brain when it’s time to eat. Leptin on the other hand suppresses those pesky hunger signals. The thing is when you’re sleep deprived then leptin levels drop and ghrelin production picks up (e.g., over-eating because you can’t tell when you’re satisfied.)
Here's the gist: If you want to suppress your appetite you need a regular and consistent bedtime, and healthy habits before bed to guide you into a peaceful night's rest.
How Much Should You Sleep to Lose Weight?
It should definitely last longer than five hours. A study that began in 1982, found that during a 20-year period women who slept less than 5 hours a night gained roughly 32 pounds. *That slow creep most of us dread, and it’s directly linked to how much you sleep and how well.
Is there a magic number then? In general, people aged 18 to 64 need to sleep seven to nine hours per night, but quality perhaps matters more than quantity. A 7-hour sleep cycle is likely to be insufficient if your sleep hygiene (bedtime routine and quality) is poor. Below you’ll find some articles we’ve written that will help you improve or create a nightly routine.
Our articles are packed with helpful tips to improve your sleep quality if you have trouble sleeping. Check them out if you don’t believe us.